UC Irvine Pediatric Exercise and Genomics Research Center (PERC)



The Pediatric Exercise and Genomics Research Center (PERC) was established in 2006. The goal of the center is to expand the conduct of interdisciplinary clinical and basic science research and research training in pediatric exercise science.


  1. To advance pediatric exercise medicine through clinical and laboratory research
  2. 2. To provide an exercise plan for infant, child and young adult
  3. 3. To provide preventive and rehabilitative exercise programs
  4. 4. To promote and foster community partnerships to encourage physical activity in children


PERC areas of research are in functional genomics and exercise physiology and include: immune system and muscle genomic and epigenetic responses to exercise, effects of exercise and training during childhood and adolescence, effects of exercise and training on children with chronic disease and children with special needs.

Exercise Training in Children with Spina Bifida

We modified the model of the “I Can Do It, You Can Do It” (ICDI) program from Slippery Rock State College in Pennsylvania, an institution known for its adaptive PE program. ICDI is based on training college-students to serve as physical activity mentors for children with disabilities.

Working with our colleagues from Miller Children’s Hospital led by Dr. Kimberly Bedell, we implemented ICDI in a group of children with Spina Bifida, in which the spinal cord does not develop normally and the children are left with substantial neuromotor impairment of the lower extremities. We worked with the Recreation Therapy program of CSULB and train students to act as mentors.

During the week before and following the last week of the exercise intervention, we invited the participants to the UC Irvine Pediatric Exercise Research Center to asses fitness and cognitive function.

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